Candid Teacher's Classroom

The view from the other side of the desk.

I Did It by Myself! February 11, 2011

Filed under: education,just for fun,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 12:12 am

Candid Teacher Admits: The funniest moments are often also the most “interesting” at the time.

My first year of teaching came with many, many challenges.  I had 24 diverse students, a half-day aide who was little to no help, a belittling and degrading principal, no allies on the kindergarten staff, lived on my own & alone for the first time, and found myself spiraling into a schedule of work-eat-sleep-repeat.

However, that first year also brought me a very, shall we say, spirited group of students.  They were full of personality, if you will.  One student was very immature and, though he was technically “potty trained”, he was not able to wipe himself after a bowel movement.

Oh yes, buckle up.

So, one lovely day in my kindergarten classroom, this child disappeared for a good 10 minutes before I wondered why he was still in the bathroom.  I knocked on the door and heard sobs coming from the other side.  I opened the door a bit (without looking in, of course), and asked the distressed student what was wrong.  Though I had to ask him to repeat himself a number of times before I understood him, he finally wailed, “I cannot wipe myself!”

Oh, hell no.  This was not in the job description.

So, I called the nurse and she came while I took the rest of the students to their scheduled special.  She explained that he would not wipe himself without baby wipes.  So, in collaboration with his mother, we determined that he would carry some baby wipes in a ziploc in his pocket while he learned to clean himself up properly.

Months went by and one routine day, the aforementioned student rocketed out of the bathroom at full speed with an air of excitement and pride.  He hustled over to where I was seated across the room working with another student.  As he neared me, he shouted my name and then placed his hand on my cheek, “Miss S,” he said, “I did it! I did it by myself!  I wiped myself up!”  He was so excited, and I didn’t want to dampen his happiness, but he was standing far too close (and let’s not forget that his precariously placed hand, which was just used in the act of “wiping”, was on my cheek). “That’s great!  Did you remember to wash your hands really well, too?”  I asked with what I hoped sounded like genuine enthusiasm.  “Uh huh!” he replied with a nod.

After more congratulatory words, I got a baby wipe and bathed my face with it.  Though I scrubbed vigorously, it felt as though that hand was still there, burning a hole of feces into my skin (though I must say, I didn’t actually see any evidence on the child’s hand).  Then, I forced the incident out of my mind until I could get home and properly wash my face.

That child’s victory, no matter how interesting its nature, is something that will always stay with me.  I wonder if it holds as much meaning to him.

Yours,
Candid Teacher

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Stress.. It Happens August 6, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 9:27 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: Stress is simply part of the life of a teacher.. and person.

I know everyone gets stressed out by work and well, life.  However, in this situation my stress has reached a new level.

I have just moved to a new apartment and while things are going relatively well, they are never perfect.  The washer/dryer don’t work (though that’s getting remedied within 2 weeks and then I’ll be thrilled to have them), the dishwasher doesn’t work that well, and I can never seem to get things done around the place.

Worst of all is that the new charter school where I am employed may not open because it is having trouble enrolling enough students.  I admit it’s a bit of a hard sell, but am surprised that it’s so difficult to enroll students.  I can’t help but feel this is the board’s fault for not advertising better.  Many people that live in the town don’t even know the school exists.  On top of that, those that do know about the school think it’s NOT free and that it is for religious education.  Charter schools are free public schools with missions, so it is both, free and has no religious affiliation.
Now the board is relying on the teachers to help get the word out about the school and correct misconceptions about the school.  While I don’t mean to sound above helping out, I can’t help but feel that this really isn’t part of my job.

There are a lot of things teachers have to do to go above and beyond, and being a positive representative of the school is one of them.  However, recruiting for the school is generally not in the job description.  Then again, nothing about this opportunity has been aligned with the “usual” job description of a teacher.

I just hope this doesn’t run my career into the ground.  I truly hope it ends up being one of the greatest risks I’ve taken so far.

Here’s to hoping that all this stress pays off!

Yours,

Candid Teacher

 

A Teacher Who Doesn’t Like Children? July 23, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 5:08 am

Candid Teacher Admits: I’m terrified that the children getting in the way of me liking my job.. which would be a pretty big problem considering my line of work.

As a teacher, the number one qualification is kind of a no-brainer.  You absolutely must, without a doubt, love children.  So then what happens if you realize you love activities for kids, love talking about best teaching practices, love everything that goes into teaching, can talk passionately about children… but when it comes to the actual act of the teaching children, things aren’t so hunky-dory?

I have been working with an amazing group of teachers the past few weeks.  It’s been very busy and even, dare I say it, fun.  From time to time I have considered updating my blog but I always eschew it thinking, “Nah, nobody wants to read about people who are happy.”  (It’s true, don’t try to deny it.)  So now, I return to you in a state that is more interesting to read about but significantly less fun to feel.

Today I worked with about 30 of the incoming Kindergarten students.  I don’t know which will be in my class yet, but working with these children made the fears I have had previously creep back into my conscience… what if it’s the teaching children part of my job that I don’t like?  If that’s the case, I’m in big, big, BIG  trouble.

Seriously, what kind of teacher doubts their love for children?  Me.  Does that make me a horrible teacher/person?  I know that sometimes the kids drive me crazy, but that can happen to anyone and is okay.  My greatest fear is that I’ll become the teacher who “works for the summer off” or the “short” hours (hah).  I’ve promised myself I’d never be that teacher and always despised educators who had that philosophy.  I still know that I’ll never become that teacher, but I feel as though if I don’t absolutely love it and give it my all, then I have no choice but to find a new career.

Do I take my job too seriously, or am I in a great deal of trouble here?

Yours,

Candid Teacher

 

Is This My Life? July 10, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 12:27 am

Candid Teacher Admits: I love my job!

I know I’ve only worked with my new co-workers for 3 days, but I already love my job.  I can’t believe my good fortune that I got laid off from my old job in a guarded and unfriendly environment.

Everyone is so nice.  Are people really this nice?  It can’t be!  I feel such a strong connection with the staff at my new school.  On top of the great people, we get to write our own curriculum that aligns with the International Baccalaureate (IB) model, which is quite interesting and I think will be really successful.

I’m nervous about what the school year has in store for me, but overall I’m just so happy that I get to work with such a talented and kind group of people.

Yours,

Candid Teacher

 

The Return of Candid Teacher June 30, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 2:34 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I’m back, and I don’t know how to feel about it.

What I have been waiting for for 3 excruciating months has finally happened.. I have been offered a job!

I am truly excited to know I can continue being “Candid Teacher”.  However, the position is for Kindergarten, which I have been teaching the past 2 years.  While I have enjoyed aspects of teaching this grade, I also would like to explore other grade levels or subjects.  One major thing I dislike about Kindergarten is doing “crafts”.  I’m not artistic and really do not enjoy doing “cutesy” projects, which is quite a bit of what Kindergarten is expected to be like.

Upon accepting the position yesterday, I found out I will soon be invited in for a final interview as a Reading Specialist.  Being a reading teacher appeals to me in many ways, however I face it with some trepidation as I have never done it before.  I would be the K-6 school’s only reading specialist.  I would have to help teachers level and group students and inspire low students to achieve.  Though I love the idea of this job and the notion of working with small groups of students, the reality is it may be too much responsibility for me.  If there was another reading specialist for me to work with, I’d be less timid about it.  However, being the only person, I tend to shy away from such great responsibility.

I feel so lucky to have been given so many opportunities, especially in this economy.

Now I face tough choices that will affect the rest of my career.

Still yours,
Candid Teacher

 

So Much Stuff! June 23, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 4:19 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I had no idea I had so much “teacher stuff”.

The only thought I had as I packed my classroom and gradually moved my things to my apartment and my old bedroom in my parent’s house was: “Where did all of this stuff come from?”
I’ve been admittedly frugal over the past 2 years in terms of buying things for my classroom.  Despite the fact that I have less than most teachers in my school, I still managed to acquire a large amount.  It’s a good thing I don’t live at my parent’s house any more, because there is absolutely no room for me!  I have SO much stuff that boxes are piled high and take up the majority of the floor in my old bedroom.

I did try to loosely track my spending on teacher items this past year and I was astounded at how much I spent.  I don’t know any other job where, in order to be successful, you must purchase many of your own supplies.  Looking back to initially getting hired by my district 2 years ago, I remember asking, “Won’t I be provided with any of these books or items?”  I knew teachers were expected to purchase many of their own things (folders, pencils, staplers, pencil sharpeners, etc.), but I did not realize the extent.  I thought that teachers bought ADDITIONAL games/activities, but I didn’t realize that I’d have to get everything myself, including things mandated by the curriculum.  Doesn’t that seem a bit odd?

Well I’ve learned that in teaching, it isn’t.

I’ve bought: pencils, erasers, tons of books, office supplies, games, coloring books, lesson idea books, bulletin board supplies, CDs/tapes, storage bins, toys, puzzles, games, gifts for my students, snacks for students, and much, much more.
This is nothing compared to what other teachers buy including: backpacks/lunchboxes for students in need, winter coats, shoes, more toys/games, furniture, etc.

I can’t believe how much I already have after 2 short years.  I’m sure I’ll continue to acquire more.  Even though most of my teacher things are now at my parent’s house, I still have “teacher stuff” jammed into my walk-in closet (good thing there are 2 closets in my bedroom; I use the smaller one for my personal belongings) and the front coat closet (who needs to hang up coats?).  My only conclusion is that I need a bigger apartment.

Yours,

Candid Teacher

 

Mix of Emotions June 16, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 12:59 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: Now that the end of the year has come, I’m not ready to go.

Sure, I’m tired of a certain few students.  Sure, I look forward to sleeping in.  Sure, I can’t wait to go to the beach while everyone else is at work.
But I will miss many of my students, and it’s hard to leave knowing I won’t get to see them in the halls as first graders.  I was also looking forward to seeing last year’s students become second graders.  They’ll be fine without me, but I’ll miss them.

I am really excited to finally get a chance to breathe a little.  It’s been so busy – testing, report cards, packing my room, wrapping up the end of the year, interviewing, etc.  However, if I don’t get a new job, I’ll be “breathing” far longer than I want to be!

Right now it’s time for me to get ready for an interview.. fingers crossed that it goes well so I can continue being “Candid Teacher”.  Without the job, my identity suffers.

Yours,

Candid Teacher